In his latest collection of short stories, T.C. Boyle threads wit and satire, with a notable degree of beguiling prose, inevitably pulling the reader into the many worlds in I Walk Between the Raindrops. Masterful in his technique, Boyle will entice you to race through this compilation of sad tales, be they quarantining on a cruise ship in ‘The Thirteenth Day’, or contemplating caged pet existence on a turbulent flight in ‘Dog Lab’.
The title story, ‘Walk Between the Raindrops’, is about a woman who sits next to a man at a bar and claims she has extra-sensory perception. In ‘Thirteen Days’ passengers on a cruise line are quarantined, which is both horrific and relatable. And, although these tales are dark, they are exceptional in that they remain both believable and existential to readers. Whether they be contemplating life on a cruise ship holiday during a global pandemic, or the mental journeys we can often take on a train.
Boyle explores multiple facets of society: greed, parenthood and responsibility, the digital world, all rarely told with visceral prose that enables the reader to envisage the tales clear and simple. His aptitude for flexing the strength of voice with each story is outlined, his sceptical consideration of human behaviour obvious and his wry humour evident. Each of these stories have a fluidity to them that allows them to wash over you. As a reader, you inhale Boyle’s characters and dark truths about difficult times. A beguilingly beautiful collection.
I Walk Between the Raindrops is out now, published by Bloomsbury.